Joesph “Joey” Nicholas Gallo started the 2022 season with the New York Yankees. To say that his tenure in New York ended poorly would be a gross understatement. Moreover, Gallo’s treatment at the hands of the Yankees faithful is a demonstration that some fanbases really do not deserve nice things. If you want to boo a player who is performing poorly, go ahead and boo — that is your right as a paying customer. But leave it at the ballpark; unfortunately, Gallo was hectored into self-imposed isolation in New York.
On August 2, the Dodgers traded for Gallo by giving up Double-A pitcher Clayton Beeter to the Yankees. At the time of the trade, Gallo was hitting .159/.282/.339, an 82 wRC+ with 12 home runs while playing corner outfield spots until displaced by ex-Royal Andrew Benintendi. Gallo had never been known as a high-average hitter, but Gallo held (and still holds) the distinction of being the only player in Major League history to have a sub-.200 career batting average and has hit over 100 home runs.
For all parties involved, it was probably a great relief for everyone once Gallo suited up in Dodger blue. As a quirk of fate, his debut was the day after the game I went to in San Francisco. I happened to see Gallo three times on that next road trip in Kansas City and Milwaukee. Honestly, I did not know what to expect.
There was still a lot of swing-and-miss from Gallo, but he seemed to be attempting to hit the ball the other way. As a result, in the early going, Gallo looked like he would be markedly more productive than he was in New York, which admittedly was quite a low bar. While in Kansas City, I saw Gallo in left field while sitting above the Dodgers’ bullpen. The game was a hot, muggy, stifling affair, and that was just the Dodgers' offense. Joey Gallo struck out a lot but he hit a massive home run (off a position player) that was as majestic as anything I had ever seen. After the home run, I figured I’d try and holler at Gallo.
Gallo continued making a name for himself with the Dodgers, helping the Dodgers pummel NL Cy Young Candidate Sandy Alcantara in Los Angeles on August 21. Gallo had his first multi-hit game with the Dodgers, going two for three with a triple, a walk, two runs scored, and a pair of outstanding defensive plays in left field.
At the time, Gallo had played 12 games (with eight starts) with Los Angeles, hitting .261/.371/.667 in thirty-five plate appearances. At this point, it looked like Andrew Friedman was a genius for making the trade, and the meme of “The Curse of Joey Gallo” had begun as the Dodgers and Yankees had mirrored records for about a week. The second half sent the Dodgers to greater regular season heights and the Yankees off a figurative cliff.
The fun lasted for six days until the rematch with Alcantara in Miami. Alcantara threw a complete game and was as dominant in the rematch as he was mortal in the first round. The final out of that game? Joey Gallo with the bases loaded.
Ultimately, Gallo’s relatively hot start with the Dodgers cooled considerably. Where there was “feast or famine,” quickly changed to “just famine.” His overall stat line with the Dodgers in 2022 ended up only nominally better than his stat line in New York, finishing his tenure going 19 for 117.
As to what undid his season, the answer is pretty simple. It is the same bugbear that has haunted Gallo for most of his career: he strikes out too much, on a level comparable with Chris Taylor or Cody Bellinger in 2022.
I saw Gallo three more times after those heady games in Kansas City and Milwaukee. His statline was 1 for 11, with a double, an RBI, and 6 strikeouts. Truthfully, Gallo was far more memorable in San Diego for what he wore after the game with Justin Turner, Andre Jackson, and Bellinger on September 11.
As has been discussed elsewhere, I stumbled upon the Dodgers leaving Petco Park in costume. It was a surreal moment to document this happening in real-time and literally see a good chunk of the Dodgers’ fanbase on Twitter literally and figuratively become twitterpated.
Gallo ultimately made the playoff roster, but ultimately did not have an at-bat as he appeared as a defensive replacement once in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Padres.
Stats: .162/.277/.393, 7 HR, 4 doubles, 23 RBI, 16 BB, 57 K, .671 OPS, 91 wRC+ with LA
Salary: $10,275,000, of which the Dodgers were responsible for about $3,613,187
Game of the year
By strict baseball terms, clearly, the August 21 game against the Marlins in Los Angeles was Joey Gallo’s game of the year as a Dodger. In this game, Gallo showed his full range of talent on both sides of the ball.
But if we are all being honest, no one will remember that game five years from now, apart from (maybe) Gallo and the SportsNetLA archivists.
However, we all will (probably) remember 2022 Picture Day. We may not remember where we were when we saw the following on September 11. However, we surely will remember the laughs we had, among other things. And thus, a thousand brackets were filled out for charity.
Gallo is a free agent.